Heroes come from the North
One of the most international finnish musician, Ville Valo, has gotten to know his home country through the windows of the tour bus. Home has always been in Helsinki, and for Valo, who spent his childhood in Oulunkylä, home is where his parents are. His own home is just "a storage for his stuff". For Ville, Oulu is a good town to play a gig in, or the place where Kauko Röyhkä ja Terveet Kädet or at least Läjä Äijälä is from.
"The more you go towards the north, the more straightforward people are. I appreciate that", Valo says.
the northern artists have always fascinated the cosmopolitan from Helsinki. Valo discovered Timo K. Mukka [a Finnish author] after his father gave him his autobiography, and he liked it so much he got a tattoo of Mukka's face on his arm. It's on the right arm because Valo writes with his right hand. Mukka's tattoo reminds him of his roots.
"It's like a snapshot of Finnishness, the whole northern landscape and all that introverty, that through the gray stone-attitude".
Valo admits that he hasn't read all Mukka's books, even though they are waiting in his bookshelf.
"Mukka is more like the feeling and the character. Usually I get excited for a character! Charles Bukowski is a good example. His own life is so comparable to the job he was doing".
High working morals
Even though Mukka is more known from his drinking habits, Valo appreciates him for his down to earth-attitude and work morals.
"A responsible artist is discordant concept and it's very interesting. Sure we've had Melleri and other, very bohemian types, but then there's the ones who do their job punctually, which I think is very unusual from an artist. You think of big names like Dali and Warhol, and they were complete freaks. They've lived a completely different lives than normal people".
Mukka died young, only 28 years old. The sensitive and morbid author couldn't cope with the harsh articles about him in Hymy-magazine. You're hanging on a cross, Timo K. Mukka -article was the death sentence. Mukka died mentally crushed only a week after the arcticle was published.
"Mukka burned the candle with a fucking big flame. Some people -not artists- live so much faster, that they're 50 when they are 20".
Headlines aren't bothering
Being on the headlines or the dirt-throwing media hasn't hurt Valo, and he's not worried about them. His private life he doesn't even want to present. His own lucky status he does remember.
"And oh how there are those people who have lived fast but haven't achieved anything. I'm sure Finland is full of them".
The HIM singer, known from his bohemian lifestyle, refuses to imagine how history will remember him. Besides, Valo is going to live at least 'til the year 2040, so he can celebrate the 200th anniversary of his house in Munkkiniemi.
Finland won't bend
Valo also talks about Kalervo Palsa and Reidar Särestöniemi who didn't like to put themselves out for the world to see, but rather stayed in the north. Valo would like the Finnish authors to sell their work abroad. He believes there would be great markets for Finnish art.
"I understand, that a Finnish author doesn't have to go abroad, but an artist has to. There have been a lot of guys in Finland who just haven't gone anywhere".
Valo talks about artist Samuli Heimonen and his paintings, and wishes him the best luck outside Finland's borders.
"I've shown his paintings to muy friends all over the world, and they were all like ´wow, these are fucking great!"
People shouldn't expect a solo album from Valo just yet, at least not in Finnish. No, even though he has flashed his talents with his Badding- and Rautavaara-reprensations. It's much more easier to sing in English.
"For many years I've tried to write in Finnish, but I've never even got one sentence done. It's so much easier to write in English, it's like a verbal McDonald's".
One of Valo's biggest idols is Tapio Rautavaara, who lately has been on the news a lot due the tribute album. Valo sees the value of the album in the fact, that through it, young people might find Rautavaara and his music. Even though Valo thinks no one is sacred, it is still dangerous to do a version of a song by the maestro.
"It's really hard. They are difficult songs".
He recommends people to use our cultural heritage like the American rappers do.
"Those lyrics of Toivo Kärki are awesome. I've always said to those rappers out there to use the intro of Sininen Uni. What would be more Finnish than that!"
HIM, 45 Degree Woman and Kypck are playing in Teatro, Oulu, tonight on Monday, 29th of December
Translation from Valo Daily